50 Super Fun Things to Do in 2019 That You Didn’t Do in 2018
Meet the most positive approach to New Year's resolutions.
Why is it that whenever people talk about making resolutions for the new year, they always focus on the negative? They’re going to quit smoking, cut down on drinking, finally quit that dead-end job, and dump the partner that doesn’t appreciate them. But what if we took a different tactic to New Year’s resolutions? What if, rather than deciding what we weren’t going to do next year, we focused on what we were? Wouldn’t that be a more positive way to approach the challenges in the year ahead?
Here are 50 ideas to add to your 2019 resolution list, from life-changing adventures to small changes that might just make you look at the world in a different way.
Try a side hustle.
Pinterest claims that searches for “side hustle from home” are up almost 700 percent, and that side hustling—meaning, making a little extra money on the side by doing the thing you love, whether it’s DJ-ing or online tutoring—is poised to be the biggest hobby trend for 2019. That strange talent you only indulge to make yourself happy? Turns out, it may be the key to a second income.
Take a road trip with no destination.
There’s no sweeter feeling in this world than getting in a car and driving towards no place in particular. Turn off the GPS, it’ll be no help where you’re heading—which could literally be anywhere. Never forget the value of getting lost in our over-scheduled, over-controlled world.
Go on a digital diet.
It might not sound like much fun to give up all of your social media addictions for a day—or, if you can handle it, an entire weekend—but seeing how long you can go without looking at a phone or a screen can be surprisingly life-affirming. You’ll find yourself doing things like making eye contact with other humans, and having real conversations with them, and reading books and newspaper and other archaic and tangible mediums that you forgot existed.
Celebrate Elvis Presley’s birthday.
The King of Rock n’ Roll would have been 84 this January 8th. And every year in Graceland (his estate in Memphis, Tennessee), they celebrate in style with a five-day festivity, complete with performances and a birthday-cake cutting. This year’s birthday is going to be an especially big one at Graceland, with longtime Elvis pal Jerry Schilling sharing stories about his many adventures with the King, including the infamous visit to the White House to meet President Nixon.
Learn how to cook something new.
If you’ve never baked a cake from scratch or cooked a pot roast big enough to feed your whole family, now is the time to try. Using your kitchen doesn’t have to be intimidating. In fact, the more you challenge yourself to create new dishes, the more you realize just how relaxing and enjoyable it can be to put your culinary skills to the test.
Build a fort at home.
Yes, we mean with couch cushions and blankets and pillows. Fortified to defend your kingdom from any monster invaders. You don’t need to be a kid to occasionally need the emotional relief of hiding from the world behind a tower of gentle padding.
Drink wine under the Eiffel Tower.
Flying to Paris is definitely a financial commitment. But being able to say you’ve sipped wine with someone special under one of the most famous architectural wonders of the world—like you’re characters in a rom-com—is worth every credit card payment you’ll make in 2019.
Take the polar plunge.
Jumping into freezing water in the middle of winter sounds like something only a fool would do. But for many people, it can be the biggest thrill of their life. There are many polar plunge opportunities, from the annual Coney Island Plunge, run by the oldest ice swimming club in the United States, to the Chicago Polar Bear Plunge. Whatever you choose, just remember this: You’re not going to be comfortable, but you’ll have never felt more alive.
Watch a rocket launch.
There are numerous opportunities to watch a rocket blast off into space next year, from Elon Musk’s SpaceX to official NASA satellites. You can watch it all, if you’re willing to make the road trip to Cape Canaveral, Florida, or wherever else rockets are being launched in 2019. There’s a lot of activity coming up, so be sure to plan ahead!
Witness the Northern Lights.
Also called the Aurora borealis, this incredible and all-natural light show is caused by electrically-charged particles from the sun colliding with the earth’s atmosphere. If you’ve ever seen photographs, you know how amazingly beautiful it can be, but it’s nothing compared to seeing it happen in person. The Northern Lights are usually at their peak during September or March—winter is generally a good time, the colder and darker the better—and can be best spotted in northern hemispheres like Minnesota, Michigan, and Alaska.
Start a swear jar.
No, we’re not kidding. Setting up a swear jar manages to kill two birds with one stone. On the one hand, it forces you to become more aware of how often you slip into coarse or vulgar language. And just as importantly, it adds a fun spin to learning how to save money. Investing for the future usually feels like such a chore, but imagine if your next vacation was partially funded by inappropriate language? How fun!
Binge Game of Thrones
We’re not sure if you’ve heard, but that epic HBO series about dragons, dwarves, and White Walkers is coming back in April for its final nail-biting episodes. What better time to rewatch the first seven seasons, to remind yourself of all the craziness. Remember when the Red Wedding was shocking? Well, that’ll seem like nothing compared to the carnage to come.
Find ways to make exercise something you don’t dread.
If the idea of working out makes you wince or start coming up with quick excuses, then you’re going about fitness the wrong way. Make it your mission next year to find a way to exercise that you actually enjoy. If you hate the gym, maybe you need to focus on long power walks through your neighborhood, or biking to work in the morning rather than taking a bus. The key is to stop thinking about exercise as a chore, and make it something you actually look forward to.
Attend a film festival.
You don’t need to fly to Utah and hope for stand-by tickets to Sundance to experience the thrills of attending a film festival. There are thousands of film festivals across the country, in big cities and small towns, and they all offering you a chance to see independent movies that you wouldn’t normally encounter at your local cineplex.
Go ice skating.
If you live in or near New York, or you have plans to visit anytime soon, you owe it to yourself to ice skate at least once at the legendary Rockefeller Center. But you don’t need to be in the Big Apple for an excuse to put on skates and test your balance on a field of ice. Wherever you live, we’re pretty sure there’s at least one skating rink or ice-covered pond within a short drive.
Grow a vegetable.
Even if you’ve got limited backyard space for a garden, you can find enough room to grow one avocado tree or a tomato plant. It’s not really about the grocery savings—at the end of the day, you’re not really saving that much money by growing yourself—but the feeling of satisfaction that you created something from nothing. Trust us on this: the taste of a tomato from your own garden tastes sweeter than anything you could get at a store.
Jog through all four Disney World parks.
Every year Walt Disney World hosts a 26.2-mile marathon that runs through all four of their theme parks in Orlando, Florida. If you’re not up to that level yet, they also offer half marathons, as well as a 5K and 10K course. Work up a sweat before relaxing on Space Mountain; that’s our idea of a great vacation.
Enter a hot dog eating contest.
For some people, their dream is to make it to the Olympics. For others, it’s the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest in Coney Island, the most legendary competition of gorging in the free world. Maybe this year, you’ll be the one to finally beat Joey “Jaws” Chestnut, the three-time champ who beat his own record this past summer by downing 74 dogs.
Host a costume party.
It could be on Halloween, but it doesn’t have to be. In a way, it’s more interesting if it’s not on Halloween. People aren’t expecting to be asked to play make-believe in a month that isn’t October, which is exactly what makes it so fun and ridiculous. Why should the silly play of dressing up like another person be restricted to just one holiday a year?
Adopt a shelter animal.
According to ASPCA, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, about 6.5 million animals end up in animal shelters in the U.S. every year, and 1.5 million of them are euthanized. But adopting a dog or cat from a shelter isn’t just about saving a life; you might just be meeting your new best friend.
Take a tour of fall colors.
If you’ve ever been perplexed why people take actual vacations to see autumn leaves, maybe it’s time for you to see firsthand. There are an abundance of places to find staggeringly beautiful fall colors, from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula to the Catskill Mountains in New York to the Columbia River Gorge in Oregon. Prepare yourself to be blown away by the bright golds, oranges, and reds of autumn.
Take a pottery class.
If your last memory of ceramics is making an ashtray for your parents in an elementary school art class, then you need to get to a pottery studio, stat. It’s not just about creating your own homemade ceramics and glassware. There’s something about molding clay with your hands at a pottery wheel that’s hypnotic and relaxing. It’s kind of like meditation, but at the end you have a new cookie jar.
Visit an ice hotel.
If you’re ready for an experience like no other, Sweden’s ICEHOTEL is officially open for business. Though they’ve been around since 2016, every year, they have new rooms and suites, created by dozens of artists from 13 different countries. There are also ice hotels located in Norway, Quebec, and Alaska that are well worth checking out. Don’t worry, you won’t be freezing all night. Yes, your bed is a block of ice, but it’s also covered with fur and animal hides, as well as sleeping bags, so you’re guaranteed to stay warm. It’s an experience unlike anything you can imagine.
Take a museum day.
There are 35,000 museums in the United States. That’s more than the number of Starbucks and McDonald’s locations combined. You have no excuse not to visit your local museum and spend a day, or even a few hours, discovering something new and mind-blowing about your world. Whether it’s science or history or even fashion, there’s a museum out there made just for you.
The late, great president George H.W. Bush had a unique way of celebrating his milestone birthdays. On his 75th, 80th, 85th, and yes, even his 90th birthday, he jumped out of a plane to skydive. We’re pretty sure he didn’t do it because of a dare. There has to be something more life-affirming than scary about leaping to the earth from 12,500 feet in the air. Bush understood it, and maybe this will be the year when you do too.
Travel somewhere by train.
It’s not the most convenient way to travel, but it’s definitely the most romantic. You’ll feel like you’re back in the 19th century, before gridlock traffic existed, and a “quick trip” could mean days or even weeks riding the rails.
Walk a beach and look for interesting rocks.
The people who love to “rockhound”—yes, that’s actually what it’s called—claim it can be a calming and often transcendent experience. Just imagine it: You’re strolling along the sandy shore, with nothing but the gentle sounds of waves and seagulls in your ears, just staring at the ground and looking for unusual shapes. If there’s a better way to zone out and let your stress float out to sea, we’ve never heard of it.
Build a treehouse.
It could be for your son or daughter. Or maybe a nephew or niece. Or perhaps it’s just a treehouse for you, someplace to hide away when the pressures of the world become too much. The satisfaction of building something with your hands—and then turning it into a private sanctuary where nobody is allowed unless they know the secret password—just might be the secret to happiness.
Go see live music by a band or artist you’ve never heard of.
Have you ever experienced the excitement of going to a concert knowing absolutely nothing about the band on the marquee? They might be terrible, or they might become your new favorite band of all time. It’s the Russian Roulette of live music, and a great way to get out of a musical rut. If you’re getting bored with listening to the same tunes again and again and again, here’s how you discover something new.
Volunteer for the PGA Tour.
Only a select few of the world’s best golfers get to play in the Northern Trust, the PGA Championship golf tournament in New York during August. But 1,600 golf enthusiasts will get picked every year to be PGA volunteers. You might not get to caddie for the next Tiger Woods, but you’ll be on the green, assisting in everything from walking scorers to serving as a marshal, and you’ll get the best view of all the action. They’re accepting applications for volunteers now, what are you waiting for?
Eat something you’ve never tried before.
This could be the year you finally try Haggis. Or munch on frog legs. Or find out if Rocky Mountain oysters are disgusting or delicious. It doesn’t even have to be that exotic or strange. Maybe you’ve just never tried sushi but you’ve always been curious. Be bold and take a culinary risk.
Take part in National High Five Day.
It’s an actual holiday, and people actually celebrate it every April 18th. A lot of people give each other virtual high fives, but we see no point in stopping there. See how many friends and relatives and work colleagues you can high-five. If they hate high-fives, remind them that it’s National High Five Day, and they should have more holiday spirit.
Play hide-and-seek at an IKEA.
Who among us hasn’t gotten lost in the furniture megastore? Sometimes we go there and we can’t even figure out where the exit is. So what better venue for an epic game of hide and seek, where the options are limitless and the fun could last all day, with occasional breaks for Swedish meatballs?
Well, why not? This prehistoric monument near the city of Salisbury, England isn’t exactly a weekend trip. But nobody ever says, “I flew overseas to see one of the wonders of the ancient world, a structure built thousands of years ago and full of so much mystery and legend, and I am SO DISAPPOINTED.”
Compliment a stranger.
You would be amazed at what a few simple words of kindness directed towards somebody you don’t know can do to their day. Imagine if a stranger walked up to you and said, without a trace of irony, “I think you’re doing a fantastic job! Keep it up!” Wouldn’t you walk a little taller, hold your head a little higher, and feel a weird burst of self-esteem? Do that for somebody else. (Just, above all, don’t be creepy.)
Be a tourist in your own hometown.
Get on one of those double decker tour buses. Or take a walking tour and learn about the history, or maybe some ghost stories, about the buildings you walk past every day. Do the touristy thing you wouldn’t normally do unless a friend from out of town came to visit.
Get creative with your facial hair.
This one is just for the guys, obviously. Facial hair can be a lot of fun, because there are endless variations and it’s never permanent. Grow out a mustache and see if it suits you. Or how about some bushy mutton chops? A Fu Manchu could be just the thing your face has needed. Or maybe not. You can always shave it off tomorrow.
Put down the book you are supposed to be reading and pick up the one you want to be reading.
The moment reading becomes an obligation, it loses all semblance of joy. Don’t let books become like time cards, where you’re just punching the clock and then counting the minutes till quitting time. If there’s a book out there that you’d rather be reading, that you feel a little foolish even thinking about because it’s “commercial trash” or “beneath you” so you’ve been avoiding it, you need to stop with the literary self-sabotage. There is no such thing as a bad book. If it’s between two covers and contains paper filled with words, and you love it, you’ve succeeded as a reader.
Have dinner on a rooftop.
Bring up a picnic lunch or set up an elaborate dinner with candlelight and wine, it really doesn’t matter. What matters is that you and your dining companion have one of the best views in town.
Plan the perfect April Fools Day prank.
You’ve got exactly three months of preparation time. If you put your mind to it, you could come up with something so ridiculous and over the top, so deliciously fiendish and unexpected in every possible way, that your “victim” will never soon forget it. Make this April Fools your Ocean’s 11 of historic pranks.
Visit some breathtaking nature.
“In the presence of nature,” Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote, “a wild delight runs through the man, in spite of real sorrows.” Our country is filled with glorious nature that will leave you gobsmacked, from the Grand Canyon to the Blue Ridge parkway, Yellowstone National Park to North Carolina’s Outer Banks. Get out there and see some of America the beautiful, even if it’s just to your local forest preserve or city park.
Take a parent on a date.
Take your mom out for a fancy dinner at some expensive restaurant. Or play hooky with your dad and catch a movie matinee on a weekday. As we grow older, it’s easy to take our parents for granted, or forget that it’s a relationship that needs nurturing too. Some one-on-one time with either or both parents can remind you why they matter so much.
Play an old-school arcade video game.
We’re talking one of those big, lumbering machines which only take quarters and don’t require a Wi-Fi connection—games like Space Invaders and Ms. Pac-Man and Dig Dug, where you can get gloriously lost in the pixelated magic. Playing one of these games will make you feel like a kid again, and might even remind you that life isn’t supposed to be taken so seriously.
See some live theater.
Broadway is great, sure, but you don’t have to spend big bucks to get the thrill of witnessing live theater. It’s good for the soul to be in a theater watching real, flesh-and-blood human beings on a stage, creating the story from scratch for you. It commands your whole attention, and you can’t mindlessly check your phone or skip around to something else when your attention drifts.
Get dressed up for no particular reason.
You don’t need an excuse to get dressed up in your fanciest clothes and look like a million bucks. Why should formal occasions get all the fun? It doesn’t have to be a dress that cinches or a suit and tie that makes you feel like you’re going to church—just something fancier then you usually wear, which makes you feel attractive and special.
Go on a night hike.
It’s not just another walk in the woods. Nocturnal exploration connects you with nature on a grand scale. Gaze at the stars while getting your heart rate up, and remember what it’s like to be truly quiet with your own thoughts.
Watch every movie on the IMDB top 20.
It’s that weird project everyone claims they’re going to try someday but nobody actually follows through with it. Can you imagine the expressions on your co-workers’ faces when you strut into the office on a Monday and announce, “I watched 40 straight hours of movies this weekend and never saw natural sunlight. How about you?”
It’s impossible to take yourself or anybody seriously when you’re playing mini-golf. It’s like golf, but everything’s in miniature. Seriously, when you’re trying to putt a ball through a windmill, it has a way of putting all the things you’ve been stressing out about lately in perspective. No time for real concerns now, you’ve got to get this ball over that miniature gnome bridge.
Book a night at a hotel room in your hometown.
What’s not to love about a hotel? You can order room service, watch TV from your bed all night, and make a complete mess because you know the maid will just clean up everything tomorrow. Sometimes it’s the simple things in life that make it fun. And if you want to save money while doing so, Here’s the Best Way to Get Your Hotel Room Comped.
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